Happiness In Poetry

Each Sunday this month I will talk about a book that has guided my path toward happiness, and inspired me to give chase.

Each Sunday this month I will talk about a book that has guided my path toward happiness, and inspired me to give chase.

Today's book is poetry, from which I have derived a great happiness indeed: Words Under The Words, Selected Poems / Naomi Shihab Nye

The title of the book alone was enough to make me swoon. Clearly, the author gets my heart: I know in my depths there is more to life than words; more to words than the words themselves.

Today, in reading her poem Adios, I was taken by this captivating thought: “If you are known for anything, let it be the way you rise out of sight when your work is finished.” Nye, Naomi Shihab. “Adios.” Words Under The Words. Portland: Far Corner Books, 1995. 46. Print.

It has honed in on a truth I am beginning to experience. There is wisdom in letting go of the work we have done. To cling is to delay movement into a new season of mystery with potential for great joy as we explore the unknown.

As I shared on my Instagram post yesterday, autumn speaks one of earth’s most treasured secrets through imagery: “[The trees ] quietly let go of their leaves, because they know the elation of giving away what they no longer need.” I think they know the joy of anticipation as well. The great sleep is coming, but oh, how they might dream!

I have a confession: I have been holding my words too close, whether through fear of their reception or desire to keep their secrets, but I have found so little joy in that. I am learning it is always better to set the words free and allow them to be what the receiver needs. To carry them around inhibits the great happiness chase. I need to be light on my feet. I need to let go, and let my words settle like seeds wherever the Spirit of Love desires to take them.

Here is my tribute, an expression of my gratitude, to Naomi Shihab Nye, whose words have planted and grown great freedom within me:


Changed By A Word

She came with her poetry,

Words piercing pieces of my soul.

She clasped some to her chest, flung some

Down into a lake reflecting a starlit sky.

Running away, my heart resting in her hands,

Her words I tried to grasp, but they found escape

Through a tear down my smooth getaway cheek.

I did not try to cling, for she must always be free,

But I will forever trace her path, willingly,

Along a timeless trail toward the final page, final letter.

Copyright © 2015, by Jamie Wright Bagley

The Great Happiness Chase! Day 4.

Jamie Bagley